Achilles tendonitis is an overuse injury that results to pain, inflammation and deterioration of the Achilles tendon at the rear part of the ankle. If the condition is not detected early, it is a hard injury to cure but with the right treatment especially eccentric strengthening exercises, complete recovery can be achieved.
The Achilles tendon is a big tendon at the back part of the ankle. It provides power during the push-off phase of walking and running in which significant force is transmitted via the Achilles tendon. Even though overuse is the main cause, there are other contributing factors that increases the risk such as tight muscles, poor footwear, running uphill, soft training surfaces and foot biomechanics.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms include pain and rigidity at the back part of the ankle that might occur gradually over time and often worse first thing in the morning. It is important to note that Achilles tendonitis is either acute or chronic. In most instances, an ultrasound or MRI can be used to figure out the extent of the injury and decide on an accurate diagnosis.
Management of Achilles tendonitis
After sustaining an acute injury, apply an ice pack for 10 minutes every hour can help minimize the pain and inflammation. Getting enough rest is vital thus the individual should avoid using the affected feet as much as possible.
A heel lift or heel padding can also be used to reduce the strain on the tendon by shortening the calf muscle slightly. Just remember that this should only be done as a brief measure. Taping of the Achilles tendon can also be used to relieve the strain off the sore tendon so that it can rest easily, especially if the individual should be on his/her feet.
As for chronic cases of Achilles tendonitis, they respond better with the application of heat that is applied 10 minutes every couple of hours as needed. Gentle massage can be used as well.
Mild stretching exercises for the calf can help stretch out the muscles and promote recovery. In addition, using a plantar fasciitis night splint is also ideal in preventing the calf muscles from tightening overnight.